We had our last hurrah in New York today. It was lots of fun struggling through the streets with our luggage. It seemed like it grew over the week! Half of us volunteered at the West Side Campaign Against Hunger and the other half went to B’nai Jeshurun. I was in the group that went to WSCAH. It was a fantastic food pantry whose mission is to serve the needs of the community while promoting dignity. The pantry is set up like a little grocery store and customers come in with shopping carts and pick out food with a point system. We were shown the ropes by a wonderful volunteer named John. He is currently in-between jobs but spends his time volunteering at the pantry. He spends so much time there that he has started to pick up shifts. It was very inspiring to hear his story.
I was astonished by the amount of food they receive. Our job today consisted of bagging onions, potatoes, and cabbages. We bagged up the food and then took it into the pantry room for the customers to pick out. We saw some of the cutest kids today helping their parents pick out food! It was a great feeling to see families pick out healthy food. I was extremely impressed that some of the pantries we have visited this week offer cooking classes for their members to help learn how to prepare nutritious meals. It’s great that they are helping them learn self-sufficiency, many of them may not have any experience cooking healthy foods. It sounds like a wonderful program. The cooking class at WSCAH actually prepared the meal that we had for lunch today. They serve lunch for the volunteers everyday. It was delicious! (and an excellent break from the smushed PB&J at the bottom of my backpack) The WSCAH also offers clothes for people who need them and has a Meals on Wheels program.
After bidding farewell to the staff we headed out to meet the other group who had been working at B’nai. They spent the day with some colorful characters preparing and serving food! Once we were all together we set off waddling towards the subway laden with our baggage. It was nice to sit on the bus and just sleep for a while. I slept like a rock! We parted ways with some of our troops in NY and Boston as they set off to see their friends and families for a little while before we all have to go back to Colby! We are now relaxing at the Marano’s and will enjoy not sleeping on a hard wood floor!
Even though we’re all tired, we had an amazing time in NY and it was a worthwhile experience.